Remnick and Bannon; WaPo's new hire; Woodward's launch; Lack's defense; Nike and Kaep; week ahead calendar; Alex Stamos interview; viral job-shaming

By Brian Stelter and CNN's media team
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Exec summary: Stelter here. Thank you, Oliver Darcy, for filling in while I was soaking up the sun last week! The day after Labor Day is one of my favorite days of the year, because of that "back to school" feel that's in the air... So here's a special preview... Plus, the rollout plan for Bob Woodward's book... A scoop about the WaPo's newest hire... And a pic of Sunny helping me blow out my birthday candles...

Chuck Todd is right.

In an unusual and pointed piece for The Atlantic -- which you all should read -- "Meet the Press" moderator Chuck Todd is urging all of us to recognize what anti-media manipulators are doing – and respond accordingly. He's saying the days of "don't engage" are over. And I believe he's right.

There's been, in Todd's words, a "nearly 50-year campaign to delegitimize the press," but "we did nothing, because we were trained to say nothing." By failing to "defend our work in real time from this onslaught," newsrooms "helped accelerate the campaign to delegitimize the American press corps," he argues.

Now, with President Trump fueling this growing fire, Todd says "the idea that our work will speak for itself is hopelessly naive." Read the rest here...

"FEAR" excerpts coming soon

When? I don't know exactly when. But Bob Woodward's dissection of the Trump presidency, "FEAR," comes out one week from Tuesday... on 9/11... and leaks are a certainty in the days to come.

"FEAR" is a Simon & Schuster title... And this is one of those times when there's some CBS corporate synergy taking place... Woodward's first interview will be with David Martin on "CBS Sunday Morning," per two sources with knowledge of the rollout plan. I expect Woodward's WaPo will have a lengthy excerpt over the weekend...

 >> Matt Drudge tweeted Monday: "Hurricane Woodward warning issued for DC..."

SCOTUS hearing time

The confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh begin Tuesday morning... But we won't hear from Kavanaugh until the afternoon, since each senator will have ten minutes of opening remarks... 

Media week ahead calendar

Tuesday: Mark Leibovich's "Big Game" hits bookshelves...

Tuesday: Abby Huntsman joins the table on "The View..."

Tuesday: GOOGLE turns 20 years old... The company filed for incorporation on 9/4/98...

Wednesday: Big Tech testimony day in DC... Details below...

Thursday: NY Fashion Week begins...

Thursday evening: The Falcons will try to beat the Eagles in the NFL season opener...

Big month ahead! 

Some other key dates coming up in September:

Wednesday the 12th: Apple's next big product unveiling. See you there?

Monday the 17th: The Emmy Awards, yes, on a Monday...

Sunday the 23rd: CNN will start airing the final episodes of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown..."

Monday the 24th: The final season of "The Big Bang Theory" debuts...

Tuesday the 25th: "This Is Us" is back...

Thursday the 27th: The Texas Tribune Festival kicks off in Austin. See you there?

Nike takes a side

"Nike is running straight into the political fray" by introducing Colin Kaepernick as "one of the faces of Nike's 30th anniversary commemoration of its iconic 'Just Do It' slogan," CNNMoney's Nathaniel Meyersohn writes.

Serena Williams, Odell Beckham Jr., and Shaquem Griffin are part of the campaign too... But it's Kaep who got all the attention on Monday... And unfortunately it's only a matter of time before POTUS weighs in.

Nike has sponsored Kaep since 2011, but now he has been signed to a "new multi-year deal," a source familiar with negotiations told CNN Sports. The source called it a "top of the market deal for an NFL player."

>> Having it both ways? A Nike rep noted to the WSJ that "Nike has a long-standing relationship with the NFL and works extensively with the league..."

>> Kaep's lawyer Mark Geragos to the NYT: "I give Nike credit for understanding that he's not just an athlete, he has become an icon..."
For the record, part one
 -- In Tuesday's NYT: A helpful big-picture look at Amazon "quickly gathering momentum" in online advertising... (NYT)

 -- ICYMI: "Inside Jack Dorsey's Role to Police Bad Actors on Twitter," Monday's big WSJ story... (WSJ)

 -- Via Chloe Melas: "Roseanne Barr says she's moving to Israel when 'The Conners' premieres..." (CNN)

Sikka joins WaPo

Former "Morning Edition" executive producer/"Nightline" senior producer/PBS public editor Madhulika Sikka is joining the Washington Post as the exec producer of a new flagship podcast... Per the Post, "Sikka will hire a team and oversee the creation of a new flagship podcast set to launch later this year..."

  >> Jessica Stahl, WaPo's Director of Audio, tells me: "From producing mini-series podcasts to weekly shows listeners routinely turn to, we've excelled at audio storytelling, working with our journalists to create compelling content for listeners. This new flagship program will be a significant initiative for us, and we look forward to growing our team and highlighting the incredible work being produced across The Post..."

Bannon UNinvited

A story in seven parts:

One: New Yorker editor David Remnick sought out Steve Bannon for a podcast interview. Bannon was hard to book. So a producer for The New Yorker Festival pitched an on-stage interview with Remnick. "How about we make an event of it?" said an email to Bannon, according to the NYT, which obtained a copy.

Two: Bannon was confirmed. A Monday morning story on, "Steve Bannon Headlines New Yorker Festival," trumpeted the booking.

Three: Some New Yorker staffers objected. So did an assortment of critics on social media. It got loud fast.

Four: Remnick began to rethink the Bannon booking.

Five: Other high-profile folks who were set to speak at October's festival began to back out, some of them publicly via Twitter, some of them privately.

Six: Remnick pulled the plug and uninvited Bannon via a phone call to him and a memo to staffers. Remnick said that "if the opportunity presents itself I'll interview him in a more traditionally journalistic setting as we first discussed, and not on stage."

Seven: Another celeb, Jimmy Fallon, dropped out of the festival, even after Remnick's announcement. Ooops.

Bannon calls Remnick "gutless"

This was a win/win for Bannon, eh? His reaction to being dropped: "After being contacted several months ago and with seven weeks of continual requests for this event, I accepted The New Yorker's invitation with no thought of an honorarium. The reason for my acceptance was simple: I would be facing one of the most fearless journalists of his generation. In what I would call a defining moment, David Remnick showed he was gutless when confronted by the howling online mob."

What just happened?!

Important context for Monday's outrage-cloud: Bannon is booked to attend The Economist's Open Future Festival next week. "He also appeared as a keynote speaker at a Financial Times event in March," Jackie Wattles noted here. So what's the difference? The backlash from magazine staffers? The withdrawal threats from other speakers? Or something more mundane? An emailer posited that "this only happened because it was Labor Day and there was nothing else for Twitter to talk about..."

Of course, THAT view downplays very real concerns on the left about giving people like Bannon a platform. But does that mean The Economist will be challenged next?

Lack's defense

Oliver Darcy writes: "Andy Lack, the chairman of NBC News, emailed employees on Monday evening to dispute allegations that the news network hindered or tried to kill Ronan Farrow's reporting about Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood mogul who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault."

Context: Outgoing producer Rich McHugh leveled the allegations last week in an interview with the NYT. Farrow is expected to tell a similar story in his forthcoming book "Catch and Kill." And The Daily Beast has more stories about NBC in the works.

At issue: Did Weinstein's influence as a movie mogul cause NBC to bury Farrow's reporting? NBC provided a 10-page document -- a "fact sheet" -- to push back against what Lack called "unfounded intimations and accusations..."

Here's what NBC provided

The 4,488 word "fact sheet" is extraordinary for this reason: It includes pages of detail about what reporting Farrow had about Weinstein, what he DIDN'T have, and why Lack believed Farrow had "nothing yet fit to broadcast." (Of course, I thought to myself, "don't worry about broadcast, post something on your website.")

Over on Medium, I posted Lack's memo and the supporting docs, so you can check it out for yourself...

McHugh wants an outside investigation

A longer version of the "fact sheet" was shared with the NYT last week. But McHugh says he was never interviewed for it. So he's suspicious.

"Others have called for an independent investigation of NBC news and activities regarding the issue of sexual harassment," McHugh said Monday night. "That seems more important now than ever given today's letter from Mr. Lack. The release of an internally drafted report without a complete investigation and transparency for its participants only raises more questions than answers..."

Journalists sentenced to seven years in prison

This was the outcome so many journalists had feared.
On Monday, a Myanmar court "sentenced two Reuters journalists to seven years in prison for breaking the Official Secrets Act while investigating a massacre of Rohingya Muslims," CNN's team reports.

Remember, Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were working on an investigation into the mass killing of Rohingya villagers when they were arrested...

What will Reuters do next?

Reuters EIC Stephen J. Adler called this a sad day for "the press everywhere." He pointed out that "these two admirable reporters have already spent nearly nine months in prison on false charges designed to silence their reporting and intimidate the press."

What now? Adler said "we will not wait while Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo suffer this injustice and will evaluate how to proceed in the coming days, including whether to seek relief in an international forum..."
For the record, part two
 -- Thank you to John Avlon for hosting "Reliable Sources" while I was away! Key segments: April Ryan on death threats against journalists, Michael Daly and Errol Louis on the "news desert" problem, and Matt Rivitz, the once-anonymous founder of Sleeping Giants...

 -- Also on "Reliable," Daily Beast EIC Noah Shachtman offered a handy cheat sheet to the Trump admin: "The more they complain about anonymous sources, the more they complain about fake news, the more likely they are to be a leaker themselves. So, when President Trump complains about anonymous sources, he's an anonymous source for people all the time..."

 -- And about those "news deserts," last Friday's folding of the Village Voice is just the latest example...

Prepping for Wednesday's hearings

Oliver Darcy emails: For Wednesday's hearing before the Senate Intel Committee, Facebook is sending COO Sheryl Sandburg and Twitter is sending CEO Jack Dorsey. We're STILL not sure who Google is sending. The search giant wanted to send its SVP of global affairs, but he was rejected by the committee for not being senior enough...

 >> Darcy adds: At the Senate Intel heading, you can expect a lot of questions related to Russian election meddling. But with Trump's recent attacks on Google for alleged bias against conservatives, I'd also anticipate questions on that front. In fact, Dorsey will also be present at another hearing held by the House centered on exactly this. I'll be at that hearing and Donie O'Sullivan will be covering the one over in the Senate... 

First look: Laurie Segall's interview with Alex Stamos

Laurie Segall emails: Just days after Alex Stamos left his post as security boss for Facebook, he sat down with me with a dire warning: America's elections risk becoming "World Cup of information warfare."

Stamos was in the trenches for years. Now he has more freedom to speak openly about what happened and what went wrong. He said "the political polarization on election hacking is a horrible, horrible problem for the country."

Key quote about 2016 election meddling: "Two years after Pearl Harbor, the United States had quadrupled the size of our Navy. We were already on an unstoppable path to the Japanese home islands in the Pacific theater. Two years on from the election and people are still arguing whether we were even attacked and I find that amazing."

๐Ÿ”Œ >> Segall's interview will roll out on "New Day" and CNNMoney on Tuesday morning...

Newsletter synergy!

Politico Playbook asked me a few Q's for Monday's "Birthday of the Day" feature. Here's the full Q&A.

"How is the Trump presidency going?" got me thinking -- here's what I came up with -- "I believe that we'll all look back someday and recognize that the Trump presidency was a rolling, ongoing crisis. I always think back to what Reince Priebus told Chris Whipple about White House chaos: 'Take everything you've heard and multiply it by 50.' There's obviously a crisis of credibility, and has been since day one. But there also seems to be a crisis of competency. And there's a pro-Trump media army that is in denial about all that. So I just keep trying to come up with new ways to cover this — and convey the stakes of it all — on Reliable Sources..."

Spotted in East Hampton...

At David Zaslav's annual end of the summer bash on Saturday night:

Lloyd Blankfein with Chuck Schumer; Oprah Winfrey with Nancy Pelosi; Steve Kroft and David Rhodes at the bar; Ron Howard with daughter Bryce Dallas Howard; Don Lemon and his mom Katherine with Tamron Hall; plus David Geffen, Josh Sapan, Jeff Zucker, George Stephanopoulos, Savannah Guthrie, Alan Patricof, Barry Diller, Katie Couric, Dan Abrams, Jon Bon Jovi, Jon Steinberg, Mark Hoffman, Bob Kraft, Jordan Roth, Richie Jackson, Alec and Hilaria Baldwin, Dr. Oz, Jerry Seinfeld, Ron Meyer, Joy Behar, Martha Stewart, and more...
For the record, part three
 -- Anderson Cooper digesting Trump's latest anti-Jeff Sessions tweet: "The president not only interfered with two active federal investigations, he flat-out admitted he was doing it out of partisan political motives. There's really no interpretation needed -- he just said so." (CNN)

 -- Key context via Asawin Suebsaeng: "Trump's top TV advisers," like Jeanine Pirro, keep telling him to fire Sessions... (Beast

 -- BTW: Trump approvingly tweeted out info from the "failing NYT" when he heard reporter Matthew Rosenberg speaking on CNN on Monday afternoon. So much for his NYT and CNN-bashing... (Twitter)


Job-shamed on Labor Day Weekend

Chloe Melas emails: On Tuesday morning I'm sitting down with Geoffrey Rush, the former "Cosby Show" star who's been job-shamed for bagging groceries at Trader Joe's.

THE BACKSTORY: "An honest man doing an honest day's work used to be something to be celebrated in America. But it didn't seem like it -- over the Labor Day weekend, of all times -- after" Owens was photographed bagging groceries, CNN's Doug Criss writes. It all started with a Daily Mail article last week, and then the story "exploded on social media over the holiday weekend after Fox News picked it up and tweeted out its own version..."

"First Man" and the flag

Brian Lowry emails: It's hard to think of a more ginned-up controversy than the one about the American flag and "First Man." The conservative fury about the upcoming Neil Armstrong biopic came mostly people who haven't seen the film – including Sen. Marco Rubio and the "Fox & Friends" gang – but who were reacting Ryan Gosling's comments about it at a festival. The WSJ's Joe Morgenstern – who has seen the movie – seemed to sum up the reaction among critics who have praised the film, tweeting, "We live in lunatic times. Ignore the lunatics."
The entertainment desk

Crazier and richer

"Crazy Rich Asians" scored its "third-straight weekend on top of the box office," CNNMoney's Jackie Wattles reports.

More: "The movie has quickly become one of the most successful rom-coms in years and has helped lead a rebound for Hollywood box offices after a rough 2017..."

"Incredibles" milestone

Brian Lowry emails: Disney pushed "Incredibles 2" over the $600 million domestic box-office plateau over the weekend, giving the studio three films that have crossed that threshold this year (the others being "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Black Panther"), something only six other movies had accomplished previously. Notably, thanks to "Star Wars" and Marvel, the studio can claim six of those nine titles...

It's that time of year again...

Megan Thomas emails with Sandra Gonzalez's very funny fall TV preview: 21 reasons to embrace the end of summer...

A trio of Lowry reviews

Brian Lowry emails: The post-Labor Day deluge of new TV offerings begins Tuesday, with a trio of high-profile if largely so-so projects: "Mayans M.C.," FX's "Sons of Anarchy" spinoff, which is every bit as violent; "The Bobby Brown Story," a BET miniseries told largely from the singer's perspective, and thus more flattering than past depictions of his life; and "The Purge," a 10-part USA network series based on the hugely popular movie franchise, which proves uneven in tackling the annual night when murder is legal through different characters...

Goodbye, "Adventure Time"

The animated series "Adventure Time" wrapped up on Monday night after 10 seasons on the Cartoon Network. NYT's James Poniewozik said it is "easily my favorite show that I've never written about." That got my attention! So I read the rest of his piece. He called it "one of the visual and artistic wonders of the last decade, a gorgeously lacquered jawbreaker with a bittersweet center..."

Blowing out the candles!

I turned 33 on Monday... But we started celebrating a little early with a boat outing and an ice cream cake and a sunset excursion at the beach. Here's Jamie, who procured the cake, and Sunny, who loved the icing, helping me with the candles:

Thanks for reading! Email me your feedback... See you tomorrow...


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